Best sample packs of the month: October 2021

We list off this month’s best sample finds, including scoring tools, lo-fi loops, and free instruments.

Sample Roundup October 2021

The nights are closing in, meaning it’s the perfect time to get inspired with new sounds. We’ve got another round-up of this month’s finest sample releases for you to check out, including modern cinematic instruments, emotive keys, jazzy horns, lo-fi beats and more.

Pianobook – Electric Clarinet (by Julian Doe)

Pianobook - Electric Clarinet (by Julian Doe)

Pianobook is an exciting resource set up by Spitfire Audio founder Christian Henson that allows musicians and sound designers to share and use unique, free sample content. At the time of writing, there are 679 packs available. You can filter your search by instrument or sampler format, and there is already a broad range of weird and wonderful royalty-free packs available. One of the recent additions involves a broken clarinet recorded through Marshall Guvnor guitar pedal and an Orange Tiny Terror amp with a broken speaker. It’s been formatted for Kontakt, so you can play its odd, synth-like tones yourself.

Toontrack – Goth Rock EZkeys MIDI Pack

Toontrack - Goth Rock EZkeys MIDI Pack

  • Price £25 (requires a full EZkeys instrument)
  • Contact Toontrack

In its ongoing mission to explore different genres, Toontrack has turned its attention to Goth Rock for the latest EZkeys MIDI pack. With a sound spearheaded by bands such as The Sisters of Mercy, The Cult and Type O Negative, Goth Rock blends doom-laden chord progressions with new wave hooks and nods to industrial. The MIDI pack includes piano and keyboard parts performed by a professional session player with intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus and bridge sections. There are both straight and swung parts in 4/4, with tempos ranging from 108 bpm to 162 bpm.

Modeselektor – Extended Sounds

Modeselektor - Extended Sounds

We’re big fans of inventive German production duo Modeselektor, so it’s exciting to see them create a new production pack for Ableton Live. They’ve been at the forefront of experimental electronica for nearly two decades, thanks to their eclectic mix of gritty techno, sub-heavy boom-bap and melodic glitch. This 2.5GB construction kit features 124 Presets and 66 Live Clips, plus five Live Sets for insight into how they build and arrange their tracks. These include an array of drum kits, Effect Racks, MIDI clips, Wavetable and Operator Presets, and a large collection of multisamples taken from the Modeselektor studio. There’s also extensive use of Macros, so you can get tweaking straight away.

Zero-G Elements – Modern Scoring Synth

Zero-G Elements - Modern Scoring Synth

Stefano Maccarelli, the creator of the award-winning Ethera series, returns to Zero-G for Elements, a massive new Kontakt instrument full of contemporary scoring tools. Elements is a unique wavetable hybrid synth with a whopping 23 GB library of sounds created by recording organic sources, acoustic instruments and environments. Sampled instruments include cello, classical and electric guitar, felt piano, modular synths, Viking horns, vocals, mallet instruments, metal objects and more.

There are also sounds recorded using an underwater mic to help you create unique new textures. Elements uses three layers to create rich modern sounds, with 500 cinematic Snapshot Presets ready to use. It also has a fully-featured Kontakt GUI, with custom convolution reverbs, drag and drop audio import, effects rack, arpeggiator and more.

Loopmasters – Crimson Child – Sounds of the Eleventh Hour

Loopmasters - Crimson Child - Sounds of the Eleventh Hour

Loopmasters has teamed up with rapid-rising star Crimson Child for this pack that boasts over 800 MB of sounds taken from his debut LP, Eleventh Hour. The classically trained producer combines elements of piano, drums and jazz music with blistering modern production, adding cinematic atmospheres and heavy dubstep-esque sounds. You can expect to find a varied mix of emotional piano parts, epic, wonky beats, and heavily distorted bass sounds from 90 to 172 bpm. In total, there are 89 loops, 418 one-shots and 79 sampler patches in a range of formats.

Loopmasters – Horns in Motion

Loopmasters - Horns in Motion

We often find that horn sample packs tend to fall into the dub/reggae/ska category, so this Loopmasters release by Simon Beddoe of Submotion Orchestra is a breath of fresh air. It features almost 500 thoughtful and jazzy loops from 90 to 140 bpm, with the option of using pre-mixed sections or individual parts. Instruments include trumpet, muted trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, and flugel horn, and there’s also an array of chords, stabs, swells, pads and individual hits plus accompanying sampler patches.

SFXTools – Game Footsteps

SFXTools - Game Footsteps

If you’re struggling to find the right footstep sounds for your film, game, or animation projects, then this new pack from SFXTools could be indispensable. Game Footsteps features 252 footstep sounds with surfaces including wood, metal, gravel, grass, dirt, concrete and carpet. You get slow, medium and fast speeds, plus different perspectives like left to right, right to left and first-person. This all adds up to a flexible toolkit that can be used to match up the pace and sound of a character walking on screen. All samples are at 24-bit/96kHz to ensure the highest quality.

Famous Audio – The Keys Collection

Famous Audio - The Keys Collection

This breathtakingly beautiful pack contains 100 gentle and emotional riffs for piano and keys, with expert performances and a light, human touch. Loops range from 70 to 140 bpm and feature delicate pianos, emotive organs, and warm, reverb-drenched synths with a touch of detune for added effect. You also get MIDI files for each part so you can experiment with your own sounds, and 100 one-shots to load into your sampler of choice. The Keys Collection is perfect for lo-fi genres but could be useful for a range of down-tempo genres or soundtrack work.

Racks Stevenson – High Standard Vol.II

Racks Stevenson - High Standard Vol.II

There is seemingly no end to the amount of acoustic drum sample packs out there, but every now and then, one crops up that really stands out. Racks Stevenson has taken the vintage sound to the next level with the High Standard drum packs. The latest Vol.II includes 120 files of breaks and patterns, including four different treatments of 30 original drum breaks. This gives extra flexibility as you have Clean, Dirt, Dynamic and Heavy Compression versions. You get full recordings with different song sections at 75 to 157 bpm, plus 50 one-shots, six recordings of vinyl noise, and the option to add the original raw stems for a small additional cost. All parts are performed by Wes Watkins using old-school mic techniques and vintage preamps, making them perfect for funk, soul and boom-bap hip hop.

BandLab Sounds – Aurelian

BandLab Sounds - Aurelian

BandLab Sounds, the ever-growing resource for free audio, has added another stellar pack to its already sizeable collection of hip-hop and downbeat samples. Producer Aurelian has put together a blissful pack of 102 lo-fi, nocturnal beats and melodic loops. You can expect to find a dusty blend of dreamy Yamaha DX7 pads, lo-fi analogue riffs, reversed guitars and spacious hip hop drums with separate breakout parts. All samples are labelled by key and with tempos ranging from 85 to 150 bpm.